[23] Why Speak Of Rebirth In Pure Land In A Future Life Too? 为何也说来世生净土?Those With True Mindfulness Of Buddha Are Definitely Without Those Not Born In Pure Land 真念佛决无不生净土者


Question: [The] sūtra’s ending [part] first speaks [of] non-retrogression (不退转), [and] later explains rebirth [in Pure Land], mainly with [in this] present life obtaining accomplishment, [thus] transcending other teachings. Why instead open [with ‘[having] insufficient lifespans [and] many obstacles, [in this present life] not attaining rebirth, [in a] future life attaining birth’, [this] one path?

[Note 1: The question refers to the following part in the Amitā(bha) Sūtra’s《阿弥陀经》Transmission Section (流通分): ‘(I)f there are people who have already vowed, are now vowing, or will be vowing, with the desire to be born in Amitā(bha) Buddha’s Land, all these people and others, will all attain non-retrogression for Anuttarā Samyak Saṃbodhi (i.e. Buddhahood). In that land, they have already been born, or are now being born, or will be born.’ (若有人,已发愿、今发愿、当发愿,欲生阿弥陀佛国者。是诸人等,皆得不退转于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提。于彼国土,若已生、若今生、若当生。)

The question asks why is there particular mention of the possibility of attaining rebirth in Pure Land in a future life in the Commentary On The Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of Amitā(bha Buddha)《弥陀疏钞》, versus focusing on attaining it in this present life.]  


Answer: Those [with] true mindfulness [of] Buddha, [are] definitely without [those] not born [in] Pure Land, [who] retrogress [from Anuttarā Samyak Saṃ]bodhi.

[Note 2: True mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) is with profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿), thus complete with the Three Provisions (三资粮) to reach Pure Land, to attain non-retrogression from the swiftest progress towards Buddhahood there.]


Only fearing [for the] group of [those with] obstacles deep [and] wisdom shallow, [who] see [them]selves [and] others yet [to have fruitful] effects, [yet] not blaming [their] diligence [to be] shallow, [with] flesh eyes blind, instead doubting [the] Buddha’s Dharma [as] inefficacious, [in this] present life retrogressing [and] lazy, thus ‘winding’ [in] revealing [mindfulness of Buddha’s] supreme benefits, [this teaching is to] encourage [and] enable [them to, in this] present life obtain accomplishment too.

[Note 3: The particular mention of the possibility of attaining rebirth in Pure Land in a future life, with only planting of the karmic seed for it in this present life (as a distant cause [远因]), is out of compassionate concern for those who might have many karmic obstacles (业障), such as those listed, who might continue to obstruct themselves from attaining rebirth in Pure Land in this present life.

Note 4: In a future life, however, most will forget what learnt in this present life, thus needing to relearn. (This is a form of spiritual retrogression.) Thus, it is best to aspire to reach Pure Land in this present life. As a form of ‘reverse psychology’, the particular mention is to urge all to avoid and clear these obstacles, precisely to attain rebirth in Pure Land in this present life. If there is sincere and thus non-retrogressible learning and practice of mindfulness of Buddha in this present life, there will be non-retrogressible progress to reach Pure Land (and thus Buddhahood) in this present life too.]

Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì

《灵峰宗论》卷第三之一:答问一 /
Spirit Peak Tradition’s Treatise: First [Part] Of Scroll Three: First Answers [For] Questions /

Great Master Ǒuyì’s Pure Land Collection: 9th [Section]: Answers [For] Questions: Answers [For] Zhuō Zuǒchē’s Thirty-Two Questions [On The] Commentary [On The Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of A]mitā[bha Buddha] [#23]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Teachings:

[15] How Does Sincere Mindfulness Of Buddha Eradicate So Many Transgressions And Attain Non-Retrogression?
One Thought Powerful Surpasses Hundred Years’ Leisureliness

[18] Why Did The Amitābha Sūtra Speak Of The Buddha Appearing At Life’s End Only?
With Faith, Aspiration And Practice Accomplished, Rebirth In Pure Land Is Naturally Without Doubt

[19] How To Know In Advance The Time Of Arrival In Pure Land?
Those Not Valuing Advance Knowing Enable Their Minds To Not Be Inverted

[20] Are There Differences Between The Ten Thoughts In The Greater Sūtra And The Contemplation Sūtra?
With The Sincere Mind Of Joyful Faith, How Profound And Clear!

[26] How To Transform Definite Negative Karma To Be Not Definite?
A Thousand Years’ Darkened Room With One Lamp Is Able To Be Destroyed

The Path To Non-Retrogression Starts Now

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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